The must-read stories and debate in health policy and leadership.

Trusts have been told to start work on submitting “detailed” international recruitment plans if they want to be given a slice of the £28m announced by NHS England to boost this increasingly critical area of workforce supply.

In a letter to providers, chief nurse Ruth May and director of international nurse recruitment Duncan Burton called for plans setting out how provider chiefs will increase capacity to interview and process applications and increase their intake of internationally recruited nurses.

Trusts could be awarded anything between £25,000 and £100,000, depending on the scale of their plan.

Uptake of the monetary incentive will be crucial if the NHS is to meet its target of a collective 41 per cent increase in international recruitment. However, concerns have been repeatedly raised regarding the ethics behind accelerating overseas recruitment during a pandemic, when pressures have never been higher on the global health and care workforce.

So, farewell then Marcel

Marcel Levi is moving on from chief executive of one of England’s more high-profile acute trusts to take up a high-profile role as a government adviser in the Netherlands.

He will have been in the post at UCLH for four years when he leaves on 31 March next year. He will become the chief scientific officer to the Dutch government as well as chair and chief executive of the country’s research council.

He took over the UCLH job from Sir Robert Naylor, who had run the organisation from 2000 to 2016.

Sir Robert worked hard to grow the hospital’s reputation and powerbase. In his time, specialist work grew, the estate was rebuilt, and the organisation’s reputation as a clinical and academic centre was bolstered.

But this also meant the trust was saddled with substantial private finance initiative debts and a reputation for concentrating on highly specialised services while neglecting the bread and butter activity of an acute trust. It was also seen as an independent, high-handed organisation that was not a good system player.

Enter Professor Levi. He did not court nor receive the same kind of national profile as his predecessor, though he did pick a fight with the Treasury over his ambition to raise private finance to buy out his trust’s PFI debt.

But Professor Levi did adopt a more mollifying stance with UCLH’s system partners. He took on roles within the fledgling independent care system and early in his tenure he said he did think the hospital chain model would work. Instead he advocated building networks and partnerships, telling HSJ in 2017 the future is “collaboration not competition”.

UCLH has continued to be an academic and research powerhouse under his aegis, though it has not yet started showing the kind of returns against NHS performance targets that one might expect from such an august institution.